There’s more to performance than meets the eye: #PerfMatters

Posted on Friday, 30 March 2018 by Léonie Watson

#PerfMatters is a web performance conference in San Francisco. I was invited to give a talk, and decided to look at the impact screen readers and the different browser process models have on performance.

When I began looking at this topic, I found there wasn’t much information out there about this aspect of web performance. Marco Zehe’s article Rethinking web accessibility on Windows was an informative source of information, but beyond that, I found little else. My thanks therefore go to Glen Gordon of Freedom Scientific, Mick Curran of NVAccess, Marco Zehe and Jamie Teh of Mozilla, Alice Boxhall and Rob Dodson of Google, James Craig of Apple, and David Storey of Microsoft, for taking the time to help me understand this little-documented part of the performance space.

The talk explored the relationship between a screen reader and a browser; looked at the way browser process models have evolved, and the impact the multi-process model has on the screen reader/browser relationship; it covered the challenges of achieving a responsive Time To Interaction (TTI) for screen reader users; and finally looked at some of the possible ways web performance for screen readers could be improved in the future.

The slides are available here:

About Léonie Watson

Léonie (@LeonieWatson) was Director of Developer Communications at TPG (2013-18), is co-chair of the W3C Web Platform Working Group working on HTML and Web Components, writer for Smashing magazine, and Net magazine, and regular conference speaker.


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